Europe’s biggest football clubs want the 2022 World Cup to be played in May
The European Club Association (ECA) comprising many of Europe’s leading clubs, has now suggested May 2022 as a potential date. Held at that time of year may not be what the organisers want, nor what the players would choose, but it does have the priceless virtue of being convenient for the big European clubs. And that, after all, is all that really matters to them.
The ECA believes a tournament at that time of year would cause minimum disruption. Temperatures in Qatar during May are about 35°C, rising steadily as the month goes on.
One source told BBC Sport that football was played under similar temperatures at previous World Cups such as Mexico in 1986, USA in 1994 and Japan/South Korea in 2002.
Questions about the temperature in Qatar were were raised the moment the Gulf state was named as the host for the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar 2022’s organisers have always insisted they can play host in the searing summer months, citing their development of air-cooling technology. FIFA president Sepp Blatter remains unconvinced though, and has said that the tournament could only really be played in the winter months.
Blatter reiterated earlier this week his belief that the finals be held in November and December 2022.
“We cannot play the World Cup in summer,” he said. “The date which is the most convenient is the end of the year because to play at the beginning of 2022 is when the Winter Olympics take place.”
This week, Harold Mayne-Nicholls, who led FIFA’s technical commission which assessed each bid for the 2018 and 2022 and first warned of the perils of playing in Qatar in the summer, also suggested an earlier tournament, with games kicking off in the early hours of the morning.
FIFA has, up until now, suggested halting domestic football leagues be suspended in order to play the tournament in November and December.
However, many in Europe are unwilling to countenance this level of disruption it would cause to domestic football and the cash cow that is the Champions League.
FIFA’s calendar taskforce, which is led by FIFA vice-president Shaikh Salman, meets next month and is due to produce a timetable in March 2015.